Van Life Timeline
I was living with my partner in Austin, TX and teaching yoga full time. I was making $6,000 a year and somehow still traveling the world, happier than I had ever been. During one of our many morning coffee drinking sessions they asked me what I would do if I didn't live with them(rent free). I thought for a moment before responding..."probably in my car". There may have been a bit of doubt in their mind as to the truth in that statement, and honestly I just had no idea how I could possibly afford an apartment or get a JOB that tied me down just to pay for said apartment. Two years before this conversation I had lost my last job very suddenly, sending me down this path and I just couldn't fathom going back to 40 hour work weeks, and limited flexibility in my schedule. I had to chase my dream, a dream of freedom and adventure with no attachment to it needing to look like the average mid 20's American lifestyle.
The heart breaks. My partner of 3 years and I separated, leaving me with a lot of decisions to make. Stay in Austin? Put down roots? Keep pursuing an alternate lifestyle? It was the ultimate opportunity to test if what I said I wanted was worth the struggle to make it a reality. I made the terrifying choice to continue down a path of following my heart. I made a tiny amendment to the way I was living, which made it exponentially easier to travel, and do MORE of the things I wanted with even les struggle. I got a "job" working 2 days a week and making almost twice as much. I use quotes because this "job" was FUN, something I love, making the highest quality of coffee and serving it to incredible customers in a very supportive environment. My mom is rad, she has a home in Houston with loads of extra room for me, so I moved in with her and began saving for my adventuremobile. I knew I wanted to have the freedom of living in a mobile "home", but I had no idea where I would go when I got one!
In June I attended a teacher training with the YogaSlackers, a group of deeply inspiring individuals that slackline, do acroyoga, and live wildly adventurous lives. Immediately following that training I took my first of 3 trips to Colorado in 2 months. The pieces started falling into place without much effort on my end I just sat back and said YES. I met a few amazing people in Golden, CO they all did all of the things I love most, not just one or two of my hobbies but all of them. No more separate groups of friends for different activities. WOW! I wanted in.
Late Summer 2015
On my third trip, I lined up a couple interviews in the coffee industry at places I felt I could work at without feeling like I was sacrificing my lifestyle for. Working in this way allows me to stay passionate about teaching, able to give from a place of desire rather than a place of need. That is an incredibly valuable gift. IF I got a job, it was game on and all the saving and hypothetical ideas of van living would be put to the test! I GOT THE JOB. They were even willing to give me the three weeks I decided I needed to get my life in order for a move.
The time was flying by so very fast. I still needed to find my future home and make it livable. I decided to make a Facebook post announcing my move and search for a van. Now comes the magic. A climbing buddy said he had a van! The van he had lived and traveled in had just been sitting around collecting rust for a year. He feared it wouldn't be "nice enough" . I wasn't looking for nice, I was looking for empty, a blank slate, practicality, and hoping for standing room. Miraculously it was EVERYTHING I could have hoped for!
I knew that I was capable of building and prepping alone. Instead, I set an intention of using this experience as a way to connect to my community. A wonderful collective of creative, intelligent, strong, giving people that inspire me to keep going down this path. In just a few short days of hard work and a lot of imagination, the van went from dusty, dirty , and messy to having a closet, flooring, insulation, new wall paneling, an amazing bed, art, and loads of good energy! Because of the time restraints I opted to leave the kitchen to be finished in Colorado(finally finished!! Nov 2015). I talked a great friend into riding up with me. We jammed out to classic country music all the way across Texas! It was such a blast. We made it to Golden in a couple days, that's where I stay most of the time when I'm not in the mountains or making coffee in Boulder. I have settled into van life surprisingly easy, like it was meant to be. It was...for me, for you van living may not light you up or inspire you, GOOD get out there and find out what does! To live a life of passion and vibrance you must seek it out with a fury, chasing your dreams as they evolve. Have fun out there y'all!